Even amid tragedy and hardship, some San Franciscans were able to find reasons to smile in the immediate aftermath of the earthquake and fire. As a liveryman explained to writer French Strother, “San Francisco was the gayest city in the world, and it's hard for these people to take trouble seriously.” And so, in keeping with that light-hearted spirit of early San Francisco—and with the resilience and optimism that is innately human—we take the opportunity here to touch on the lighter side of the 1906 earthquake.

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Ansel Adams, age 4, survived the earthquake with his family, though their home...

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